What is the Average Cost Per Lead?

When was the last time you sat down to determine your average cost per lead generation?

Do you ever question whether this is in line with other companies of your size, in your industry, or earning a similar revenue?

A recent study published by HubSpot surveyed over 350 companies in order to compile cost per lead data. Here are the numbers to use as your own cost per lead benchmark for 2017.

Average Cost Per Lead

The average cost per lead $198.

Average Cost Per Lead by Industry

IndustryAverage Cost Per Lead
IT & Services$370
Healthcare & Medical$286
 Financial Services$272
 Industrial & Manufacturing$235
 Media & Publishing$191
 Consumer Products$182
 Marketing Agencies$173
 Education$66
 Non-Profit$43

 

Average Cost Per Lead By Company Size

Company SizeAverage Cost Per Lead
 1,001+ Employees$349
 201 – 1,001 Employees$212
 51 – 200 Employees$180
 2 – 50 Employees$147

 

Average Cost Per Lead By Company Revenue

Annual RevenueAverage Cost Per Lead
 $500M +$429
 $10 – 500M$179
 $1 – 10M$185
 <$1M$166

 

Key Takeaways

  1. Large enterprise organizations with 1,000+ employees are paying the most per lead.
  2. In a similar trend, companies with large annual revenues (greater than $500M) are paying the most per lead.
  3. For companies with revenues less than $500M per year, the average cost per lead is fairly similar.

For the full study with data including number of leads, sales opportunities, and customers generated, please download for the study here.

If you are wondering how to increase your monthly leads without breaking the bank or are considering alternate marketing methods with lower average cost per leads, contact our SEO Experts by calling 1-888-262-6687.

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SEO in 2017 and Beyond: The Numbers Game

So what did we learn about SEO in 2016 that we can carry over into the New Year and improve our SERP positioning? We learned numbers! Lots of numbers!

I think that the most interesting statistics this year (and even from previous years) center around mobile, voice search on mobile, and voice search through present and future home devices. And they’ll probably all be applicable to a greater extent as the year unfolds.

In this article, we will take what we have learned from the past year and share what we think are the most important SEO predictions for 2017 and beyond.

1. Mobile Search Dominates Desktop

According to Search Engine Watch, we know that 93% of encounters online begin with a search, and from a Search Engine Land article, we learned that 65% of those searches worldwide are done through Google.

Impact has told us that 80% of users on the Internet own a smartphone, and Smart Insights indicates that the same percentage of smartphones (80%) are used to search online.

Marketing Land suggested that 56% of traffic received by the top 10,000 US websites in 24 categories came from mobile. However, if we read that actual webpage prologue by SimilarWeb that produced the report, we find that it reads the “…leading 10,000 most mobile sites in the US in 2015.”

The report itself, however, loses the most mobile reference entirely, so there is some uncertainty as to whether just mobile-friendly sites were included in the report, or mobile and desktop sites were the ones for which the stats were presented.

What does all of this mean for search in 2017? There will be some distinct changes and unique approaches developed to provide mobile-search-worthy content in 2017. SEO will not only have to address mobile’s consumption of quick, complete responses to specific questions (whether by voice or text), and produce more content pages optimized for mobile; it will also have to reflect the growing needs of the voice-only market created by home devices.

2. Voice Search Over Text Search

In a May of 2016 article, Search Engine Land cited Google indicating that 20% of mobile queries were voice searches. Now that Google has prioritized Mobile over Desktop, our takeaway should be that we can expect that number of voice queries from mobile to continue to increase significantly.

The anticipated high adoption rates of home devices such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Windows’ upcoming device, will all contribute to the growth of voice search.

As discussed in Voice Activated SEO Strategy for Google Home Device, Google is expected to ship nearly 3 million voice-activated speaker devices in 2017. According to Geek Wire, Amazon has already sold 5 million Echo units. That is at least 8 million reasons to focus more intently on voice searches.

The argument for voice-activated searches will direct the purposeful route of website content toward more specifically-tailored responses to voice searches from 2 very different devices. Those responses will need to be capable of serving their two new online masters (mobile and home assistant) while maintaining desktop traffic. Do any other SEO writers feel like a sideshow juggler already?

Even though both user groups could be searching for similar content, determining user intention based on separate schemes for each style of device will become extremely important, depending on the way voice search tactics by users evolve over time for each group.

SEO companies will need to develop ways to uniquely satisfy the needs of each group of device users without risking duplicate content issues that could be detrimental to their overall SERP strategies (mobile, home, and desktop) as a whole. Target strategies for keywords will no doubt appear somewhat disjointed initially.

It wouldn’t surprise me if as many as 3 different plans evolved for the 3 disparate search methods:

  • Mobile Voice
  • Home Assistant Voice
  • Desktop

3. Apps (plus or minus) Mobile-Friendly Websites?

Smart Insights has quoted Yahoo! Flurry stats, indicating that apps are used predominantly on mobile devices, with 90% of time on a mobile device being spent on an app, as opposed to using a browser such as Chrome (only 4%).

For some companies, I would argue that an app offers some great potential. But, for companies with a consistently changing landscape of information, articles, blogs, and other forms of data not conducive to being presented in app form, their websites will remain as go-to places for individuals with an interest in their products, services, or culture.

Such sites will still require ongoing SEO attention, but how that attention might translate into SEO planning will undoubtedly take a step sideways as more prominent mobile and voice usage begins to nudge desktop to one side until, dare we even think it, we’ve evolved into a totally mobile and voice driven world?

4. Time to Get Hyped About HTTPS

According to Search Engine Journal, as of February 1, 2017, Google has warned that Chrome will mark sites as unsecure if they have forms that collect information such as personal information, credit card information, or password information, and the site does not utilize HTTPS.

Even if only one page collects information insecurely, the entire site will be marked as unsecure, and Chrome users will be unable to access it without clicking through against Chrome’s warnings. Without HTTPS, most websites are open to man-in-the-middle attacks, through which sensitive information can easily be collected. Considering that 55% of desktop and mobile traffic is searched through Chrome, this is a significant wake-up call for website owners.

In February of 2014, I did some research on my own regarding the security of 86 major corporate oil company websites through which I was attempting to submit job applications at the time. Only 13% of these websites were attempting to collect my personal information securely through their own domain. 17% were attempting to collect my information through unsecured pages on the company domain. And probably the most shocking stat was that 23% of these companies were attempting to collect my personal data through unsecured third party domains.

While Google’s move on HTTPS is going to create some pain points for companies ill-prepared for the transition, I applaud the move. It’s time that major companies and corporations started taking more responsibility for safely handling our personal data.

If your company hasn’t done so already, start taking measures NOW to secure your domain before February 1. For more information on the importance of HTTPS, read my other blog article What Does it Take to Rank #1 on Google?

5. Mobile-Friendly Sites and Soft Selling

We’ve all visited those sites. You know the ones. You arrive on your mobile device and have to start zooming in and scrolling from side to side just to read the content. The links are so small, and so close together, that you inevitably click on the wrong link, and close your browser in frustration when the page is only half loaded.

Impact has written that Google indicated 61% of visitors won’t return to your site if they had trouble gaining access to it on mobile, claiming that 40% will visit the site of a competitor instead. CMS Report states that 57% of users won’t recommend your business if your mobile site is poorly designed.

And, a whopping 87% of purchasers, according to Search Engine Watch, indicate that online content has an influence over their decisions to purchase, with 43% disliking a hard sell or conspicuous advertising.

What Does It All Mean?

So what does all of this mean for 2017? Mobile, Home Assistants, HTTPS, and more mobile-friendly websites are probably going to be some of the most important aspects of SEO to pursue this year.

How user intent is defined, particularly where voice search is concerned will likely be one of the most important, ongoing discussions in 2017, making it worthy of its own developmental approaches and evolving strategies.

For an even scarier reminder of how things change so quickly online, visit Live Internet Stats and become mesmerized by their stunning visuals.

If you want to know more about any SEO strategies for 2017, contact 1st on the List today at 1-888-262-6687. Or drop us an email.

What Do Your Customers Really Value?

A new study by Havas Worldwide gives us some insight into the new roles that companies are expected to play beyond their pure corporate function. In one portion of the survey, participants were asked to mark the five core values they think are most important for brands to embody.

Here are the top 10 highest rated core values:

#10 – Vision (17%)
Having a clear direction to achieve or accomplish long term goals.

#9 – Socially active (19%)
Engaging with the affairs and well-being of society and contributing to it.

#8 – Simplicity (19%)
Being easy to understand, plain, or natural.

#7 – Originality (31%)
Having the ability to think independently and creatively, presenting novel or unusual ideas.

#6 – Fairness (32%)
Abstaining from discrimination, bias, or injustice.

#5 – Authenticity (33%)
Being genuinely real and truthful about commitments, attributes, and intentions.

#4 – Innovation (41%)
Improving upon or introducing altogether new methods, ideas, products, or services that better serve your customers’ needs.

#3- Honesty/ Transparency (56%)
Being truthful, upright, fair, moral, ethical, and possessing integrity.

#2 – Reliability/ Durability (57%)
Offering a dependable product or service that consistently performs.

#1 – Quality (69%)
Meeting your customers’ expectations as closely as possible with your product or service, as perceived by the customer.

How Do You Deliver on These Values?

  • Ask for customer feedback that can help you gain insight into how your customers actually view your company. Do they often complain of products not working? Or projects not being completed on time? These could be signs of poor quality or unreliability.
  • Review your company’s role in your local community and the global community. This study also uncovered that 70% of people agree it is important for companies to drive social change. A majority also think their favorite companies and brands should play a bigger role in their local community.
  • Consumers have continuously higher expectations of your company and brand. Are you meeting those expectations?
  • Review your company’s core values and modify if needed so that they match consumers’ changing expectations of your company and your brand.

How Does Your Website Deliver on These Values?

Your website visitors are also looking for these values. For example:

  • Quality
    • Is the website easy to navigate?
    • Is content easy to read?
    • Are there spelling mistakes?
    • Do you have outdated products or services?
  • Reliable
    • Do all your pages work?
    • Do pages load quickly?
    • Is the website usable on a mobile device?
  • Authentic
    • Do you come across as real people with personality, or are you just a corporation?
    • Is there the human, personal touch through pictures and content?

If it is time for a website redesign or some new content development, give our web designers and SEO content writers a call at 1-888-262-6687. We’d be pleased to help make your website

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What To Do If You Are Not Getting Leads From Your Website

I know that you want to see results from your website project.  And I know it can be disappointing when you don’t start getting results soon after you have launched the website.  It is natural to want to give up on the whole idea and conclude, “You can’t get leads for your business from the Internet”.

That’s fair, because you really should expect results from any advertising.  If it doesn’t work, you should stop using that promotion.

But there is another aspect of Internet marketing that you should consider.

I’m not trying to convince you of anything but, as a businessman, I know you have been asking yourself one question since the day you started and will continue to ask the same question for as long as you are in business.  I chose to be in this business with the same question in my mind.

Every businessman is always asking:  “How can I grow my business?”

When you boil it down, there are only two options:

  1. Referrals – When you start out you don’t have much of a budget so you somehow find a few clients to get started with, treat your clients like gold, and hope they will recommend their friends and family to help you grow.
  2. Advertising – At some point, every business person finds that referrals don’t grow the business fast enough and there are never really enough referrals to make a good living.

After struggling to make a living for a while, every businessperson turns to advertising to try to achieve the success they see others achieving in the same business.

Advertising sounds like a great idea, but pretty quickly you find out that it is easy to blow away thousands of dollars with little or nothing to show for it.

Even the cheapest of advertising can cost $1,000 to $2,000, with no guarantee of return.  In most cases, even after you spend the money you may never see any results.

I have clients in the roofing and driveway paving business that spend $20,000 to $30,000 at a time on a flyer campaign, four or five times a year to get a handful of new clients each time.  I asked them “How much do you spend, on average, to get a client?”

The answer was, “Well, over $500 … You never know if you will get any clients even after all the money has been spent.” 

Every single business person is in the same situation.  They spend a bunch of money and “hope” they will get clients.  Sometimes it works, many times it doesn’t.

This is where the Internet comes in.

In a scenario where every little magazine and promotional flyer requires a minimum of $500 to $2,500 with no promise of returns, what can a small businessperson do to grow his or her business without going broke?

Until the Internet came around, there was never a good answer to this question.

On the Internet, you can spend $500 to $1,000 per month and you will attract qualified prospects to view your proposition.

Every month that you promote your business online, you get more and more qualified prospects viewing your business.  Some of these people start picking up the phone and calling you.  Your business grows with new clients from the Internet and from the referrals they send you.

On the Internet, the longer you continue to promote, the more exposure you get for the same small budget of $500 to $1000 per month.

There is no other advertising medium that builds and builds your reach, the longer you keep advertising like SEO can.

If you decide to stop promoting your website, you will still face the same question, “How do I grow my business?”  You will have the same options you always did:  spend, spend, spend on advertising that produces little or no results.

After seeing and living through many different marketing programs, my conclusion is this:

SEO is by far the cheapest way to promote your business and get new clients.

When I start promoting a website, there is usually little or no traffic.  After a two or three months they start getting several hundred qualified prospects coming to their website every month. And frankly, this is just the beginning.

In the next six months the traffic builds and builds with the plan I implement.

I have a client where last month he got four people who filled out his website’s contact form.  I bet a few people phoned him as well, but they didn’t mention his website.  I also bet a few people saw where he was on the map on his website and stopped in without telling him they saw his address on the website.

How many clients will it take for you to break even with spending $500 to $1,000 per month?

If you got 10 new clients in the next 12 months would that cover your advertising expenses and more?  In my opinion you should be able to get 10+ new clients every month once the online marketing campaign matures.

Over time, a properly SEO’d website gains “Equity”.  It produces more and more business for you.

As you consider your options for “How do I grow my business?” I hope you will keep these points in mind.

I can help your business grow… slowly at first, and then faster and faster and faster as your website builds “Equity”.

If you feel that you want to work with me and 1st on the List, I would be happy to evaluate your situation.  If it looks like we can do something for you, we’ll let you know.  For some businesses Internet marketing on its own is just not enough. You may have to combine Internet marketing with other techniques to get good results.

The first evaluation is free.  Most people get a lot of value from the investigation we do initially.  Give us a call today at 1-888-262-6687 and let’s get your business growing!

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One More Reason to Claim Google My Business Listing

The newest Google Maps App update for Android now warns users when a business they are navigating to is either closed or will be closed by the time they arrive.

A message pops up that reads, “Your destination may be closed by the time you arrive.”

Source: androidpolice.com

This is just one more reason why you need to make sure that your Google Local Business information is correct and Google is showing the correct hours for your business. After all you don’t want Google warning a potential customer that you are closed when in fact you are open for another three or four hours.

But How does Google know your hours?

Google can use a number of sources from around the web to try to locate your hours, such as your website or other profiles like YellowPages.

The other way is through your Google Maps Listing within your Google My Business account. Once you claim and verify your listing you can edit your hours of operation. Just to clarify as Google has undergone a lot of name changes, the Google My Business is the new dashboard that contains what we used to refer to as “Google Places for Business”, a “Google business page”, “Google+ Local listing” and “Google Plus for Business”.

Happy confirming and editing your hours of operation!

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Why Online Reputation Management Services Matter More Than You Think

bad online reviewsConsider the wise words of Warren Buffet:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”

All it takes is one disgruntled customer signing into Facebook, Google, or Yelp and writing a harsh review of their bad experience with you. Their review is permanently posted on the Internet for all future customers checking you out and your reputation could be tarnished for years to come.

Do you feel powerless over bad reviews already posted across the Internet or live in fear of the day when a customer will write a bad review.

Instead of falling victim to bad reviews you can take a proactive approach and develop a proper Reputation Management System. No you can’t write your own reviews but there are ways to collect more reviews from your happy customers to help down play or push down negative reviews you don’t want appearing in Search Results.

Our internet reputation management system also makes it easy to ask your customers to review your company and takes the time hog out of monitoring and responding to reviews too!

Why You Should Care About Reputation Management

Did you know that 70% of people consult reviews before making a purchase?

Studies show that consumers use reviews to determine which businesses to contact and use. Over two-thirds of people will read up to 6 online reviews before making a decision! Do they find a number of shining 5 star reviews or repeated complaints of terrible service and high prices or nothing at all?

What many business owners fail to see is that negative reviews can be used to your advantage. Nearly 30% of consumers who reported a bad experience followed by a very good response will actually increase their spending with you. Are you using bad reviews to boost your profits?

SEO & Reputation Management Services Go Hand in Hand – Reviews and Rankings

Google is constantly updating its search ranking factors to provide better search results.

There are rumors that eventually Google could use online reviews to separate the “good” from the “bad”. Businesses with a number of poor reviews risk being knocked down in search rankings. A strong SEO reputation management services ensure you are on track to gather enough reviews to prevent this from happening.

Have you noticed those Google review starts in Search Results besides some companies? SEO reputation management services help to ensure that your reviews and star ratings stand out in local search results, helping your website to get more clicks that other websites.

How to Manage Your Online Reputation – A Simple Method

The best online reputation management system will protect your online reputation by:

  • Offering an easy way to invite and remind customers to write a review.
  • Directing positive reviews to important public review websites such as Google+, Yelp, YellowPages and others in need of more positive reviews.
  • Privately funneling negative reviews to Managers to personally respond to the customer and resolve the situation.
  • Teaching you how to respond to both positive and negative reviews.
  • Learning from negative feedback to ensure the same issue doesn’t happen again.

By combining our efforts we believe that this is the best online reputation management service available. Plus it’s cost effective and requires minimal time each month.

Is it time to reap the Online Reputation Management Benefits?

[checklist]

  • Hides negative reviews. Help “push down” negative reviews from top rankings with more positive reviews.
  • Engages customers.Increase the positive perception of your brand as you engage with customers.
  • Improved purchase process.Put your best foot forward with positive reviews that help customers make informed decisions.
  • Save time. Stop manually checking for new reviews and let us send you a review report on a regular basis.
  • Cost-effective.Compared to other branding and marketing strategies or the harsh cost of a tarnished brand, online reputation management is inexpensive.
  • Improve customer satisfaction.Make your products and customer service better with insight you might otherwise never receive.

[/checklist]

In Need of Online Reputation Repair or Brand Promotion?

Whether you are aware of some bad reviews about your company or you want to take a proactive approach to protecting your online reputation, we can help.

Learn more about our Online Reputation Marketing and how our review management system works or send us an email with your specific questions.

More blog posts about Online Reviews:

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8 Basic Facts Every Small Business Owner Needs Know About SEO

If you don’t know these facts you’re not alone. Most small businesses we speak to aren’t quite sure about these basic fundamental SEO concepts. We’ve made it our mandate to help small businesses understand these facts whether they choose our SEO services or not!

SEO is simple in concept.

Search Engine Optimization is simply the process of improving your website’s content and structure so that Search Engines understand your website and what you offer more easily and deem it the most relevant to the product and services that you offer.

SEO is much more complex in practice.

If your website isn’t currently ranking for your keywords the search engines don’t understand your website yet! There are 300+ different factors Search Engines look at on every website in order to determine who should rank in each position and for different searches. These factors carry varying levels of importance and may be different from website to website. Experience, expertise, and discernment are needed to know what exactly is keeping a website from ranking well.

SEO builds your credibility and authority.

Search Engines rank websites because they think they are the most relevant and reliable source for the specific search query. The art of SEO is first showing and then proving to the Search Engines that you are the most credible and authoritative source, whether you offer gutter repairs in your hometown or name badges across the country.

SEO has endless approaches and strategies.

You can’t just ask “How much does SEO cost” and expect to get one answer because there are a variety of techniques and strategies that all require varying amounts of time, expertise, and resources to implement. It’s like asking a Contractor, “How much does it cost to build a house?” or a Personal Trainor “How much will you charge to get me into shape?” We need to ask questions so we can understand the details about what you want to accomplish. Goals are different for everyone.

SEO is not a defined science, it is an acquired skillset that requires expertise and experience to get the best results.

Not all people who do SEO are the same. Experience, approach, processes, skill level, backgrounds, and other factors affect how they optimize your website and the outcome. It is similar to hiring an inexperienced accountant or an Accountant with years of experience. Your taxes will be filed but you usually have a much bigger “return” with the more experienced, skilled Accountant. Notice I said Skilled Accountant.

SEO requires content on your website.

Search Engines need to understand what you offer, who you offer it to and where it is offered before they can start ranking your website where it belongs. You tell them this through well written content such as Products/Services pages, Contact pages and About Us pages that are properly linked to each other. This is the same information your visitors will be looking for on your website.

SEO is directly affected by what the owner contributes to the website.

The purpose of SEO is to drive more traffic to your website but ultimately the message is yours to share. Keeping your website updated with current information and having a clear and unique message that speaks to and motivates your visitors will always get you the best results.

SEO is highly affordable.

Most research shows that SEO provides a lower cost per lead than most other marketing methods and an above-average sales conversion. This means with SEO you pay less and get more!

SEO is the missing link you’ve been looking for.

Many growing businesses today are using search to drive their business. Search drives business but it means you must be visible when people are looking for what you offer.

SEO connects small businesses that need new customers with people who are actively searching for the exact services they offer. Nowadays people find and research companies online first. They don’t have time to scroll through more than a few results and most don’t even click to the second page before they decide who to buy from. Furthermore, people trust companies ranked near the top of the search results the most.

Now that you have a better grasp on what SEO can do for your business it’s time to take SEO seriously and have us look at your website.

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What’s Important Content for B2B Conversion Optimization?

A recent study by KoMarketing, Huff Industrial Marketing and BuyerZone examined the most important content for B2B buyers and what factors on a website can impact their buying decision, for better or worse.

Here are the key takeaways. Does your B2B website content strategy include these popular elements?

1. Thorough contact information is the most important piece of content on your website.

Contact info is cited as the most important asset on a vendor website. It is a critical element used by your buyers to establish credibility. While this is one of the easiest elements to add a website it is often missing. Not only does missing contact information cause buyers to question your credibility but it also prevents them from being able to move forward with requesting a quote.

Furthermore, 44% of respondents say that absence of contact information is annoying and can cause them to leave the website.

2. Product pricing plays a big role on your website.

This is another top must have on an a B2B website. Unfortunately over half of respondents reported that pricing information is often lacking on websites.

3. Key information buyers want to find on your homepage.

Your website’s homepage is valuable real estate and you must make use of every inch to clearly convey your message and brand while creating a need and desire for your service. here are the most common elements buyers look for on your homepage:

  • Products and services (86%)
  • Contact information (64%)
  • About/ Company Information (52%)
  • Testimonials (27%)
  • Marketing Collateral (23%)
  • Social Media Icons (12%)
  • Blog (8%)
  • Pricing (2%)

3. Other B2B website content buyers will give you their contact info for.

What type of content is so lucrative that buyers will give you their contact information in exchange for?

  • Trial Offers (62%)
  • Product Demos (48%)
  • Product Evaluations (44%)
  • Research (41%)
  • Brochures, datasheets (40%)

4. B2B website content that may not need to be locked behind a contact form.

Interestingly, fewer B2B buyers will give you their information to receive a case study (24%), white paper (28%) or newsletter (23%). While these are still important for establishing your credibility as a vendor perhaps buyers feel they should be able to view this information anonymously, without having to complete a form and tell you their identity. When considering what content to put behind a sign up form think about where in the purchase funnel the buyer likely is. Reading a white paper about how your service works is likely to happen much earlier than requesting a trial. They may read white papers from five to eight other vendors but only request a trial from one or two.

5. Contact forms can be a big stumbling block for RFQ’s.

Don’t ask too many questions – When your content has done its job and the buyer is ready to complete a “Request for Quote” (RFQ) you run the risk of asking too many questions. Nearly 70% of respondents in this study say that excessive form field requirements can keep them from completing the form. Formstack recently determined that lead generation forms average around 11 fields.

Only ask for their phone number and address when necessary – Nearly 60% say they don’t like to share their phone number and 53% their address information. Aren’t we all worried about being solicited after giving out this information? The email address is still a low threat field and only 16% say they prefer not to provide this.

Don’t get too personal – You must also be cautious about asking for too much personal information or requiring the buyer to subscribe to your email newsletter, as these can be two other big deterrents.

6. Other factors that affect a buyers’ experience on your website.

The study also found some other key components that affect the experience and ultimately the outcome of a buyer’s experience on your website:

  • Visitors get most annoyed with a lack of message (46%) and animated ads (42%), which can cause them to leave.
  • B2B Buyers have less and less of a tolerance for slow loading websites. 20% define slow as 5 seconds, 42% as 10 seconds and 34% as 15 seconds. This tolerance is much higher than Google’s suggested 2 second rule of thumb.
  • B2B buyers are searching on their mobile device and tablet – 4/10 mobile device owners will search for a B2B product on their phone.
  • B2B buyers are still mostly neutral towards mobile-friendly websites. Approximately one third are neutral and one third consider it important but not a deal breaker.

Conclusion

This 2015 B2B Web Usability Report draws three excellent conclusions or takeways to developing an effective B2B website content strategy:

  1. Keep buyers on the website at the beginning of the discovery phase.
  2. Educate buyers as they leave a website and return to it multiple times through their research phase.
  3. Give buyers the confidence to establish contact or begin a trial offer with a prospective vendor.

These study results are just the start of Conversion Optimization and getting the most out of your website. For more information about how we can help you get more leads out of your B2B website please call us at 1-888-262-6687 or fill out our quick contact form.

This article has been adapted from MarketingCharts.com.

 

The High Cost of Saving Money on SEO

I’ve been reminded in the last couple weeks once again at how many businesses are selecting search engine optimization (SEO) companies based solely on price. This simplistic selection method is costing them far more than they think!

The process used by individual SEO companies varies so much from company to company that lowest price is not the factor to base your decision on. It is like buying a $10,000 commuter car instead of a $50,000 luxury European sports car, expecting to get the same level of performance.

Unfortunately, like far too many business owners that I speak to think this way. The truth is if you select a low cost SEO company that doesn’t do a good job you not only end up paying someone else a second time to redo all the work but also end up having to repair any damage done. Do you still think it is wise to buy based on lowest price?

There are simply no short cuts in SEO that will get you great long-term results at the lowest cost – it’s an oxymoron. I am not saying that you have to buy the highest priced SEO Package out there. I am saying that you need to be smart when selecting an SEO and choose the right criteria (not cost!) to evaluate the provider and their ability to deliver on results.

If you are not experienced with SEO it can be hard to tell a good firm from a bad one, so here are my top tips to help you make a wise decision in selecting an SEO company to work with.

1. Established expertise in SEO.

Look for an SEO company with experience. SEO has been around for 15+ so why shouldn’t you choose a firm that has been doing it from the very beginning? Not only will they have years of experience the fact that they are still in business doing SEO is a testament to their ability to deliver on results and keep clients happy.

2. Established manual processes that differentiate you from your competitors.

You should also look for an SEO company that uses an established manual process. Yes they cost more, but at the end of the day you get the quality results you’re looking for. If you purchase SEO that uses an automated process, you can expect to be on page 10 of the results, with the 600,000 other site-owners using automated SEO. You can’t expect to be top ranking if you and your competitors are all doing exactly the same thing.

3. SEO should take several months (not weeks).

Search engine optimization takes time to mature and sites don’t attain instant rankings. Don’t discount SEO companies that tell you it will take several months to get the rankings you are looking for. The ones that tell you that it will take several months are the ones giving you the real facts. Be extra weary of companies that guarantee results in any period of time. There is no way to guarantee any type of ranking!

4. Customer testimonials should back up their ability.

Ask about some of their customers and the results they’ve achieved. You can also ask how long many of their clients have been with them. A high turnover rate of clients likely indicates they aren’t able to deliver or maintain results. An SEO Company that can maintain clients for two, three, four or five plus years is likely achieving results and earning their clients a positive benefit.

5. Don’t abandon SEO if you’ve been burned in the past.

Don’t abandon SEO because you once picked the wrong company to do your SEO. Search is the most cost effective method for bringing large numbers of potential customers to your website. The cost of not being in the search engines far exceeds the cost of paying a good SEO firm to get your site properly ranked in the search engines. Some companies that have the whole equation right are selling over a million dollars a week in sales on the Internet. No Joke! Many businesses are now taking advantage of this efficient way to expand their company’s exposure to new markets.

I have never believed in the fable that everyone who has a website gets rich (that’s media overhype), but the site owners that get it right sure can do very well. The Internet is a place where smart businesses thrive and the weak fall.

Smart business decisions and choosing smart SEO service providers, based on performance rather than lowest cost, is what translates into profit.

For more information about our company’s history and philosophy of SEO please visitor our About Us page or set up a consultation with one of our SEO experts today.

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Don’t Miss the Most Existing Marketing Opportunity in 2015

Recently Econsultancy and Adobe asked over 6,000 marketing, digital and e-commerce professionals around the world the question,

“What is the marketers’ single most exciting opportunity for 2015?”

Over 1 in 5 (22%) responded “Customer Experience”.

What’s so great about customer experience? Many believe that it defines your brand.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience is all about the interactions a person has with your brand. There are various ways to measure customer experience including their overall experience with your brand, likelihood to continue to use your products or services or likelihood to recommend you to others.

Online marketing and web design can get caught up in user experience which is just one component of customer experience. We often focus on simple question such as How do people interact with the website and What experience do they receive from that interaction? 

The deeper questions to ask are ones such as how does a user’s experience on your website affect their overall impression of your brand and How does it affect their opinion when they visit one of your offices or receive their product order in the mail?

SEO and “Customer Experience Optimization”

Over the last couple years a large component of SEO has come to focus on customer experience and knowing how to optimize not only your website but to optimize all the online touch points a customer may have with your brand. Easy SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing, buying backlinks or rewriting articles that used to work five years ago are no longer on the table. Successful SEO is all about promoting your brand and building a positive customer experience, through aspects such as content quality and sociability. A successful SEO Strategy focuses on optimizing for the user first while staying within Google’s quality guidelines.

How to Improve Online Customer Experience

Here are some quick ways you can work on improving customer experience through your website:

  • Make your brand interesting and write with personality.
  • Understand the needs of your visitors and why they are on your website. How can you help solve their problem and meet their needs?
  • Make sure your business’ contact information is clearly posted on the site. It is a best practice to have your phone number in the top header and full address in the footer so that it is accessible no matter what page a visitor is on.
  • If you run an e-Commerce website make sure your shopping cart and checkout runs seamlessly.
  • Write interesting email auto-responders, such as when someone completes a contact form on your website or requests a quote. Tell the person when they should expect a response and make sure they understand the next steps in the process.
  • Write informative FAQ pages to give customers immediate answers to their questions.
  • Never underestimate the importance of page speed – your customers want to access your products, services and contact information quickly. Pages or images that take a long time to load slow your visitors down and take up more of their time than necessary.
  • Make your website awesome for all devices. Make sure your website sizes properly on small mobile devices and has links that are easy to click with a finger. Don’t let a non mobile-friendly website upset your visitor before they’ve had a chance to experience all the great things about your brand.
  • Keep contact forms short and simple. Only ask for the information you need and no more. This makes it easy and quick for your customers to fill out.
  • Double check that your business information (including phone number, address and hours) are correctly posted across the Internet including Google Plus. Your Google Plus page, whether you’ve claimed and edited it or not, often shows up when someone searches for your brand. A potential customer who sees wrong hours listed in Google and shows up to your store after you’ve closed for the night could be very upset and may never come back.
  • Take the time to read the online reviews about your business. Learn from any negative truth in the reviews (Is your staff really rude? Do you have unreasonably long wait times?) At the same time, take a minute or two to personally respond to customers who had less than great experiences and offer to make it right.

Ultimately, customer experience is about building a bond with people who visit your website. The customer experience is everything and can determine your future success.
What kind of bond are you forming with your visitors?